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Community Health

The Brooks College of Health has been experiencing an extraordinary period of growth, and that impact can be felt throughout the local community. The faculty and staff are committed to providing their expertise to area health organizations, and keeping in tune with the needs of the community. The students are active in the field through volunteerism and internships, which in many cases leads to employment in the Jacksonville region upon graduation.


Many of the volunteer activities performed by the faculty and students of the Brooks College of Health involve educating the general public. One example of this is the “Us: Women and Girls Health Initiative.” Founded in 2003, the Initiative is a volunteer group of over 100 women whose mission is “to motivate, educate, and engage individuals in the strengthening of and delivery of excellence in women and girls’ healthcare in the Jacksonville community.” Their ultimate goal is to fund a professorship at UNF in women and girls’ health, but the group also provides presentations to community groups and an annual event with a keynote speaker. Currently their outreach efforts involve education on sexually transmitted diseases, metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease, and depression in women.

In July of 2005, UNF selected the School of Nursing as its first flagship program, allowing it to expand its distinctive community-based program. All students in the School of Nursing work with an under served or vulnerable group within the community.

In April of 2007, UNF added two new doctoral programs to the Brooks College of Health - the Doctorate in Nursing Practice and the Doctorate in Physical Therapy. This not only provides students with the opportunity to further their degree, it also provides easier access to our community’s health care workers to further their professional knowledge and earn an advanced degree.

Health Partnerships

The Brooks College of Health works closely with healthcare organizations in the community. Through these partnerships, both the organizations and the college identify the needs of the community. The College then works to address those needs, whether through student or faculty assistance, research, or other educational opportunities. For example, the School of Nursing currently has 255 active agreements with health organizations in Northeast Florida. These agreements allow students to hold internships and volunteer with area health providers.

The Brooks College of Health is not the only College to engage the community in the area of health. The Engineering department in the College of Computing Sciences and Engineering established a partnership with Mayo Clinic. Professors and students work with doctors at Mayo to conduct research on predicting disease through the analysis of the patient’s biometric wave forms. In the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center for Community Initiatives has on-going projects with the Healthy Start Coalition of Northeast Florida.
Select Health Partnerships*

Volunteers in Medicine and the School of Nursing | VIM Jax Website
The Volunteers in Medicine clinic in Jacksonville is a volunteer run medical clinic that provides primary medical services to the working uninsured. Nursing students participate in clinic operations and a faculty member serves as Clinic Director. The clinic sees about 400 patients per month.

Pine Forest Neighborhood and the School of Nursing
Students work with community leaders to address some of the health needs of local residents. Activities include a 911 Preparedness Program and Asthma Education Program for elementary school students and Pine Forest Family Festival attendees, health screenings at monthly Neighborhood Association meetings, homework assistance and health education programs at Pine Forest Elementary and Henry T. Jones Community Center, and starting a community garden.


With the multitude of partnerships established with health organizations, UNF students have numerous internships available to them. All Health Science students participate in a Community Service Internship Program. This unique program consists of 350 hours of direct field work with an organization, with an average of 30 interns per semester. Students work with the agency supervisor to determine a service project relevant to the agency’s goals. Examples of past projects include developing integrated health education and therapy programs for youth in residential treatment at the Youth Crisis Center and working at the Epidemiology Lab at the Duval County Health Department to prevent infections in healthcare settings.

Examples of Previous Student Internships

Northeast Florida Planning Council
Produced the Assisted Living Facility guide for Northeast Florida


Epidemiology Lab at the Duval County Health Department

Research to prevent infections in healthcare settings

Incorporated a health education system into summer camp

Angel Kids Pediatric Program
Educated Day Care employees in sanitation and inclusion/exclusion criteria

Youth Crisis Center
Conducted groups for youth in residential treatment that integrate health education and therapy

First Coast Family Center
Developed a tool for parents with basic information on nutrition


Community Outreach

Community outreach is a central component of student learning in the Brooks College of Health. Students in the Public Health program participate in Community Trainings, in which they design, implement, and evaluate a diversity of health education trainings for various community agencies. Topics in the past have included Dental Hygiene, Bullying Awareness, Managing Stress, How to have a Healthy Heart, and Nutrition Education. Agencies include preschools, elementary schools, high schools, the YMCA, and the Department of Labor. An average of 20 students participate per year.

Each UNF nursing student is placed with a “home-base,” which is located within an underserved or vulnerable group in the community. Not only does this enable these local populations to receive clinical care and health education, but it helps the student experience the needs of the community first hand.

Faculty were involved in at least 44 community health outreach activities,10 primarily in the Brooks College of Health but also in the Florida Institute of Education. Some of the organizations faculty have worked with are:

  • The Legacy of Health Care Clinic
  • Nassau County Public Health Clinic
  • Shands Hospital
  • West Jacksonville Health Center
  • St. Vincent’s Mobile Van
  • Volunteers in Medicine
  • Duval County Public Schools School Health Advisory Committee
  • Florida Family Resource Coalition Inc.
  • Life Care of St. Johns, Inc.
  • Mayo Medical College
  • Northeast Florida Area Health Education Center (AHEC)


* See Appendix A for a complete list.